Thursday, March 18, 2004

This word is for Paul The Postman: tosser.

I'm not quite sure exactly what "tosser" means except that it's not a compliment to be called one. See, P the P had mentioned your humble narrator's blog, and noted that the name is a British term most Americans haven't a clue about. (I'll explain the origin of the name shortly.) He then wondered what other Britishisms are unfamiliar to most Americans. So his pal Jess at Circle of Fools put up a list. Then I happened to be reading Cooking With The Mental Office Girl, where she noted that a Google search for the string "Get Off My Ass" yields My Boss Is A Tosser, among other things.

One also would not like to be called a "git" in England, but say it to a typical American and you wouldn't get much of a reaction (unless the person were a Monty Python fan, in which case he or she would probably launch into the Argument Clinic or Dead Parrot sketch).

Now "shag" is an interesting one. Post-Austin Powers, every American knows what a Brit means by this word. But here there are two meanings I know of:

1) In the southeastern coastal states (especially NC & SC), old-school Motown/R&B music is typically referred to as "Beach Music" (not to be confused with California-style surfer music), and the dance one does to it is called the Shag or Shag Dancing. (Here's a little explanation about how R&B became known as Beach Music around these parts.)

2) In baseball, part of outfielders' practice is "shagging flies," which translates to catching fly balls.

Also, in the dog sport of flyball, each team designates a person as a "ball-shagger," which delights our British counterparts. The job of the ball shagger is to collect the slobbery balls after they exit the dogs' mouths but before they cause a human to break an ankle.

Well, I know I had promised an explanation of the origin of this blog's name, but it will have to wait. Tune in tomorrow, or maybe the day after ...

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